What can one say about venerable Fenway Park that hasn’t already been said? It’s old – very old – at age one hundred three. It’s small, cozy and popular with fans. And although it opened for business way, way back in 1912, it has the look and feel of a building that is much younger.
It may be because the faithful fans of Fenway Park’s primary tenant, the Boston Red Sox, show up in large numbers for every home game.
This iconic stadium has a seating capacity of only 37,673 for night games and a slightly smaller seating capacity of 37,227 for day games.
Those numbers make Fenway Park one of the smallest stadiums, in terms of available seats, in all of Major League baseball. And since the home team Red Sox are a big draw in Boston, they often play in front of a packed house.
The fans are noisy, motivated, near the field, always “into the game” and their spirited presence makes this one hundred three year old building feel “young and alive.”
It also helps that this park is something of a hitter’s paradise. Left field is only 310 feet from home plate and is the location of the famed “Green Monster,” a thirty seven foot high wall that requires home runs to “soar like eagles” in order to reach the seats.
Graphic via bostonherald
In recent years, the home team added a terrace above the wall where fans can dine leisurely and in comfort while watching the action unfold below.
There is also the famed triangle, a section of the outfield (it is actually in right center field) where the walls connect to form a triangle. It is 420 feet from home plate. A batted ball that reaches the triangle usually results in a triple for the hitter.
Fenway Park also has a single red seat. It is located in Section 42, Row 37, seat 21. In 1946, baseball’s last player to hit .400 or better, Boston icon and Hall of Fame great, Ted Williams, smacked a prodigious home run that landed on the seat noted above. It was estimated that the ball traveled five hundred two feet. And that is the longest home run ever hit in America’s oldest baseball stadium.
Fans also know about famous “Pesky’s Pole. It is, in fact, the right field foul pole and it is just 302 feet away from home plate, the shortest outfield distance in all of Major League baseball. It was named for Johnny Pesky, a light-hitting former Red Sox shortstop who had only six career home runs, many of them hit just inside the right field foul pole.
This magnificent ballpark was also the temporary home of early NFL football teams, including the Boston Redskins and the Boston Yanks. And the American Football League’s Boston franchise, the Boston Patriots, played their home games in Fenway Park prior to the league’s merger with the NFL.
Fenway Park also holds many summertime concerts. Solo acts and group acts, as well, frequently perform in front of large crowds. An early concert in 1973 featured Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles. Recent concerts have included Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Paul McCartney, Aerosmith and The Rolling Stones.
It seems likely that this world-famous ballpark will thrive for another hundred years. When it comes to iconic structures, age is just a number.
Graphic via ballparksofbaseball